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Damaging storm rolls through the area July 1
July 11, 2011
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By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

MEEKER, WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – The storm that came through the area July 1 caused significant damage to trees, buildings, and power lines throughout Dassel and Cokato.

Garage doors were blown in, and multiple trees and power lines went down throughout Meeker County resulting in power outages and roads being blocked, according to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.

Most Xcel Energy customers had their power restored by the evening of July 3. Some, who were waiting for electricial work to be done or who had more extensive damage, did not have power restored until sometime Monday, according to an Xcel Energy representative

Hail was reported throughout Meeker County, ranging from pea- to baseball-size.

Dassel firefighters re-routed traffic around Dassel after the storm caused power lines to fall across Highway 12.

The firefighters were out until 6 a.m. July 2 re-routing traffic until Xcel Energy had a chance to remove the power lines from the roadway, according to firefighter Dave Johnson.

Also, a building at Crop Productions in Dassel collapsed in the strong winds of the storm, Johnson said.

Cokato also saw a lot of damage, with many trees and power lines down.

Power in Cokato was out from about 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. July 1. Some residents in rural Cokato did not have power restored until the morning of July 3.

There were approximately 4,800 Wright-Hennepin Electric members without power as a result of the storm. That number was reduced to 1,500 by the morning of July 2, according to Wright-Hennepin.

Wind gusts in Wright County ranged from 52 to 73 miles per hour, and hail was reported from one to two-and-three-quarter inches in diameter, said Steve Berg, emergency managment services coordinator for Wright County.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway experienced minimal damage as a result of a power line falling on its tracks during the storm in Howard Lake, according to Amy McBeth of BNSF public affairs.

The main track there was blocked briefly as a result, so trains were delayed until it could get cleared and traffic could resume.

Additionally, BNSF had some damage to crossing signals, including a broken crossing gate arm in Cokato and a few crossings without power as a result of the storm.

BNSF crews responded quickly and addressed the issues from the storm, McBeth said.

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